Oslo 2019

Online disinformation: an integrated view |

#2 Countering online disinformation

Oslo Metropolitan University (P46, Athens)
Time: 3-4 June, 2019

Different forms of disinformation have become increasingly visible and significant in the media and political landscapes in recent years. Political and/or financial motives often give fuel to the production and distribution of disinformation and studies have shown its interconnectedness with ad-tech industries. Disinformation is destructive in many ways. It potentially erodes public trust in media, politicians, and other institutions. It degrades political debate, shuts down opposition, threatens the integrity of electoral processes, and intensifies polarization – all of which contribute to undermining democratic legitimacy. Disinformation is also effective: even when it is revealed and debunked, as it continues to shape people’s attitudes. Yet overly zealous attempts to regulate, censor, or ban the production and dissemination of disinformation also pose threats to democracy, by undermining fundamental rights to free speech and expression.

This interdisciplinary symposium at OsloMet is the second of three NOR-HS workshops on online disinformation. The first workshop in Aarhus (May 6-7 2019) focuses on the fundamental problem of observing and measuring disinformation. It takes up the key question: How can we define and measure online disinformation in a holistic way – without being limited by discipline-specific views?  This interdisciplinary OsloMet symposium strives to further develop interdisciplinary collaborations, focusing on this key question: In what ways can we counter online disinformation?

We recognize this can take place in multiple ways and involves different stakeholders. This conference will work to advance our knowledge in four key areas.

  • First, we should consider both journalistic producers of news as well as producers of alternative media and producers of disinformation: asking questions such as what are their epistemic practices, routines and motivations.
  • Second, how does news and disinformation spread on the Web in general, and via social media platforms more specifically? What measures are platform companies taking to curate content, manually and algorithmically, to counter the spread of disinformation on their platforms? In extension of this what role and significance does fact-checking organizations have, and in relation to the news media and platform companies?
  • Third, what can the public do to counter online disinformation? Concepts such as source criticism as well as media and information literacy help guide media professionals and citizens for the critical evaluation of sources and different sorts of (mis)information in their daily media lives. Nevertheless, citizens face many challenges as producers of disinformation continue to developed sophisticated new techniques such as deep fakes.
  • Fourth, public authorities struggle to educate citizens in the fundamentals of media literacy. In what ways can the school system, from children to students of higher education, offer education that help counter online disinformation?

Registration and submission of extended abstracts

We invite 1000-word abstracts outlining empirical, theoretical or policy-oriented papers as well as outlines of potential research projects. We welcome submissions that clarify problem focus area, purpose, and also methods and findings were applicable. You should clearly address the general context of countering online disinformation, and one of the four themes:

  1. Epistemologies of digital journalism: How diverse actors such as journalists, but also peripheral actors and alternative media producers, employ digital tools to produce and publish “news.” What truth claims that are being made (explicit or implicit).
  2. Platform content moderation and fact-checking: The ethics and legal expectations on platform content moderation in the salient case of disinformation, as well as research into the current practices, and other potential practices.
  3. Media literacy and source criticism: Focusing on the citizens and their media literacy. How can we develop effective source criticism?
  4. Educational implications: Assessing how different countries, up until now, have tried to counter disinformation by means of educational efforts. What is the effect of these efforts? It also welcomes presentations proposing new or alternative approaches, derived from other successful education initiatives, or from applicable theoretical- or conceptual constructs.

The abstracts should be accompanied by a 100-word biography of the presenter(s) together with contact details. Abstracts, biographies and contact details should be submitted using the online registration scheme by May 16. Notification of acceptance will be sent out within shortly.

There is no conference fee for accepted presenters. Our grant will offer complimentary lunch and coffee breaks to all presenters both days. Scholars from Nordic countries can apply for having their accommodation in Oslo funded by the organizers. If you wish to apply for travel grant, please include a 100-200 words motivation, stating clearly if this is a pre-requisite for you to come. In light of climate-friendliness and to facilitate participation for those far away, we will also offer the possibility for some scholars to present their work over videoconference. If you are interested in this possibility please add a note about this to your abstract. We recommend scholars to book accommodation at Thon Hotel Europa or Scandic Holbergplass (affordable yet high standard) or Cochs Pensjonat (budget option with good standard).

We also offer a limited number of spaces to those interested in listening at the conference, who must register and pay 650 NOK to cover lunch and coffee breaks. Moreover we reserve some seats to OsloMet students, who can notify us they want to attend sessions (for free, but does not include coffee breaks and lunch).

Questions related to practical matters about the workshop may be addressed to Pernille Bakkevig via email peba@oslomet.no.

Venue: Oslo Metropolitan University (P46, Athens)

Time: June 3-4, 2019

Symposium chair and organizers: Oscar Westlund, Professor and the Digital Journalism Research Group, Oslo Metropolitan University.

Co-organizers: Anja Bechmann (Aarhus University), Matteo Magnani (Uppsala University) and Luca Rossi (IT University Copenhagen)

Key themes:
I.) Epistemologies and boundaries of digital journalism
II.) Platform content moderation and fact-checking
III.) Media literacy and source criticism
IV.) Educational implications

Inquiries about the conference should be sent to Oscar Westlund via email oscarw@oslomet.no

Detailed programme:

Moderator and welcome: Oscar Westlund, Oslo Metropolitan University
The Infrastructural Uncanny and the Social Life of Junk News Online
Liliana Bounegru, Oxford University
Tools of Disinformation: What Factors Enable Fake News to Deceive
Edson Tandoc Jr, Nanyang Technological University
Moderator: Luca Rossi, IT University of Copenhagen
Invited session keynote:
The role of hyperpartisan alternative media in an emerging disinformation order
Eva Mayerhöffer, Roskilde University
Sander Andreas Schwartz
Key Dimensions of Alternative News Media
Kristoffer Holt, Associate Professor, Gulf University
Tine U. Figenschou, Professor, Oslo Metropolitan University
Lena Frischlich, Associate Professor, University of Muenster
Boundary work: a media system approach to alternative media
Karoline Andrea Ihlebæk, University of Oslo
Tine Ustad Figenschou, Oslo Metropolitan University
News about Jews: Antisemitic propaganda in extreme right alternative media
Birgitte P. Haanshuus, University of Oslo
Karoline Andrea Ihlebæk, University of Oslo
Moderator: Oscar Westlund, Oslo Metropolitan University
Patterns of scientific misinformation: Analyzing anti-vaccination narratives on Facebook groups
Dimitra Dimitrakopoulou, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Media Lab
The Reception of Fake News: The Interpretations and Practices that Shape the Consumption of Perceived Misinformation
María Celeste Wagner, University of Pennsylvania
Pablo Boczkowski, Northwestern University
Social Media and the Public Interest – Media Regulation in the Disinformation Age
Philip Napoli, Duke University
Moderator: Oscar Westlund, Oslo Metropolitan University
Invited session keynote:
Confronting uncertainty
Scott Eldridge II, University of Groningen
(Trans) media and journalistic innovations: how are information experiences redesigned today?
Philippe Useille, Univ. Polytechnique Hauts-de-France
Angelina Toursel, Univ. Polytechnique Hauts-de-France
Fake News, troll factories and the lost truth
Soilikki Vettenranta, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
From source criticism to digital source criticism
Kristin Skare Orgeret, Oslo Metropolitan University
Steen Steensen, Oslo Metropolitan University
Moderator: Oscar Westlund, Oslo Metropolitan University
Disinformation and news in the realm of automation
Natali Helberger, University of Amsterdam
Dark Participation and disinformation
Thorsten Quandt, University of Muenster
Moderator: Matteo Magnani, Uppsala University
Invited session keynote:
Fact-checking the fact-checkers: Insights from an external assessor for the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN)
Ester Appelgren, Södertörn University
Atlas of Conspiracies: Dismantling anti-system sources spreading misinformation at their roots
Lenka Krsova, Charles University
Josef Šlerka, Charles University
Fakespeak: The language of fake news – Fake news detection based on linguistic cues
Silje Susanne Alvestad, University of Oslo
Özlem Özgöbek, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
An overview of image manipulation technology
Henrik Lieng, Oslo Metropolitan University
Moderator: Luca Rossi, IT University of Copenhagen
Invited session keynote:
Data for social change: literacy, champions and communities
Eddy Borges-Rey, University of Stirling
Automatic Detection of Disinformation: A computer science perspective
Özlem Özgöbek, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Beyond Engagement? How API changes affect our ability to track the reach of disinformation on Facebook
Anders Kristian Munk, University of Aalborg in Copenhagen
Asger Gehrt Olesen, University of Aalborg in Copenhagen
Designing meaningful gamification for mobile news: a citizen journalist training project
Ling-Yi Huang, Linnaeus University
Moderator: Anja Bechmann, Aarhus University
Invited session keynote:
From whence news literacy?: The forces behind news repertoire formation
Chris Peters, Roskilde University
Thumbs-up to trust? Understanding users’ relationship to Facebook’s trustworthiness as local news source
Ragnhild Olsen, BI Norwegian Business School
Mona Solvoll, BI Norwegian Business School
How Did the 2016 US Presidential Election Affect the Generational Gap in Disinformation Use? Examining the “Fake Fringe” During Media Events
Chris Chao Su, University of Copenhagen
Harsh Taneja, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Angela Wu Xiao, New York University
Confirmation bias in the context of news and digital media
Rich Ling, Nanyang Technological University
Moderator: Matteo Magnani, Uppsala University
Invited session keynote:
Engaging with truths: Practice-based learning, science journalism, and student-led research in addressing disinformation
Robert Gutsche Jr, Lancaster University
Media and Information Literacy and Democratic Dialogue – a Swedish Government Commission
Henrik Selin, Swedish Government Commission on Media and Information Literacy and Democratic Dialogue
Concluding note: Disinformation, policy debates and future research
Anja Bechmann, Aarhus University”

Registration is now closed.


The conference will be held at Oslo Metropolitan University and its modern conference facilities Athens in Pilestredet 46. Oslo Metropolitan University is conveniently located in the Oslo city center, with Karl Johans gate and the royal palace within a few minutes walking distance.

Click to read Call for Papers